Since I was asked about it a few times, I made a small series on how I go about creating a new character.
I usually don’t create half as many test renders in the process, and even if the images are at reduced quality, rendering them all still took several hours, so this slowed down my work-flow quite a lot. I’m sorry, but there probably won’t be another blog post this week.
Usually I just work with the character in an empty workspace, but for starters let’s build a small room to make the pictures look nicer. There, I even put in a mirror so you get a glimpse at his backside. Reflections don’t show up in the real-time renderer for the workspace, and I can just move the viewpoint or turn the character around, so those props really are just for decoration.
OK, let’s load in a base figure from which I will build the character. It looks very androgynous, and this particular figure is, in fact, intended as a base for both male and female characters.
I want him to be male, so let’s load the missing bits and add them to the figure.
Next, I usually apply a skin texture. As you can see, there is a small problem: The texture set I want to use with him doesn’t come with a texture for his genitals, so I have to create one. It also comes with painted-on eyebrows, which I don’t like either. Luckily, he shares the same base skin texture as Kyle, so I already did most of the work before.
OK, that is done. At this point I would usually set up a few lights in the scene and make the first test renders to see how the skin looks like and to make sure I did not screw up and there are no seams visible around the border where the torso texture and the newly created genitals texture meet.
Everything looks fine, so the basic set-up is done. Next is his body shape.
First, I load Liam and Aaron into the scene as a reference. You may notice a small difference in their body proportions and default posture (especially noticeable in the hands), that is because Liam and Aaron use a different figure as their base.
So far the new boy’s nipples and navel were only painted on the skin texture, I actually added slight bumps for them to his body shape. I also gave him a foreskin because, well, I am opposed to genital mutilation.
Let’s make him less androgynous first, then add some more details. I don’t want him to look as muscular as Liam and Aaron, and rather a bit skinny.
Once I’m happy with his body shape, I turn my attention to his head and face. First he needs eyebrows and some hair. I put a few different on him before I decide on a hairstyle.
Hair is finicky with the render engine I use. Two different hair props can look vastly different and the same shader settings rarely work for different hairs. So this is the step where I usually create the most test renders before I get the hair to look the way I like.
OK, I’m happy with his hair and I like those eyebrows on him.
Now I work on his facial features. There are a lot of tiny details to change around, getting a good face takes longer than the rest of the body combined.
Once his face looks the way I want, it is time to zoom out again.
Let’s give him some body hair.
As a final step I add some more details to the skin to make him look more unique. I like freckles, so he gets freckles.
Now all that is left is to give him a name and introduce him to the rest of the cast.